Yes, Victoria turned 21 on the 29th. Can you believe it?!!! It doesn’t seem possible that 21 years ago God presented us with a baby girl who miraculously survived having the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice. Had she not come a week early I fear she might not be here today. While we had already picked out the name Victoria, the circumstances surrounding her birth made that name, which can mean victory, victorious, or conqueror, all the more fitting.
So what’s has she been up to since her last birthday? Well, the big news is that she graduated from UAH on May 3. Yes, she finally graduated and has put college behind her. Needless to say she’s ecstatic to be out of school. But, for all her grumping and gripping about having to go to college and take a bunch of “stupid” classes she did very well, especially if you recall that she went in at the age of 16. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in music performance and had the third highest GPA in the College of Liberal Arts. She was also one of the first to graduate from the newly accredited Honors College and the first harp student to graduate from the music program. To put these accomplishments into perspective, while in school she coached gymnastics, taught ballroom dance classes and private lessons, and taught harp lessons. Now you can better see why she was gone more than at home during the school year.
Another biggie for her was buying a new-to-her concert grand harp this past March. Seems she’d outgrown the semi-grand we’d bought her and needed the larger harp to play some of the selections for her senior recital this past April. It was a great recital, and in addition to playing several solo pieces she was joined by The Harps of Huntsville for one number, a violinist for another number, and a pianist and her harp teacher for the last number. It was one of those times when you wished the music could go on forever, but in reality, you know that a harpist’s fingers can only last for so long.
Her new harp was also a plus when she was asked by the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra (HSO) to play in their England: A Sea Symphony as second harpist along with her harp teacher, Katherine Newman. The concert was on September 18. She and Mrs. Newman added so much glitz to the setting with their matching gold harps. It was thrilling to see her sitting on that stage with a full professional orchestra. This is what all her years of hard work have been for.
Another big purchase for Victoria since her last birthday was of a 1970 Harley Davidson Electra Glide. Yes, she is the owner of a very large and powerful motorcycle. It had belonged to Rick’s late cousin who took excellent care of his bikes. At present it needs a bit of work so it’s not on the road. A month or so back Victoria witnessed an accident between a truck and a motorcycle. She’s having second thoughts now about actually riding her “new” bike. What she figured out after seeing the wreck was that she had an 80% chance of losing a finger she needed for playing the harp and only a 20% chance of losing one that didn’t matter, i.e. her pinkies. She’d also be in a world of hurt (no pun intended) were she to lose the use of her legs or feet. It’s pretty tricky dancing or changing the pedals on her harp without them. If her face were messed up in a wreck she couldn’t compete as a ballroom dancer because looks are part of the equation in addition to dancing ability. So, she might just decide to sell the bike to her dad and be his scooter trash (that’s the person who rides behind) on occasion.
While Miss Martha was away last year, Victoria took over making the samples for the Li’l Woolies projects and packing the kits. Miss Martha returned to work back in February and inspected Victoria’s work. I overheard her tell a visitor that Victoria had done a better job than she could have done on the Li’l Woolies samples. That’s high praise indeed coming from one so skilled as Miss Martha. Together, they have been working on our monthly handwork offering, With Thy Needle, and it’s good to see them working as a team again.
October 29 is the perfect day for Victoria to turn 21 because it’s also National Cat Day. If you’ve followed us the past 11 years you know that Victoria is a cat person. When she was four or five she prayed every night for kittens. Her prayers were answered when Rick found several newborn kittens just off the front porch one day while he was mowing. We’ve had cats, in varying numbers and colors, ever since. Currently, we only have two left outside, Nike and Sylvester. They were Belle’s children from a few years back. Sadly, Belle is no longer with us. Victoria was given a little butterscotch colored kitten and when Belle found him in her room she was not at all happy. Victoria was afraid Belle would hurt the kitten, so she put her outside. We’ve not seen her since. Yes, we think Belle got mad at Victoria and ran away from home. We’ve greatly missed her.
Just before Labor Day, Victoria was given a fluffy, adult male cat. It took about two weeks before he’d even come out from under the couch in her room. He’s been a very quiet, very shy cat. She’s been waiting until her birthday to give her dad the good news about her “early birthday present” and that she once again has a cat in her room. This cat with no name is getting more curious though, and I’ve heard him meow a couple of times when she wasn’t at home. It’s about the only time I’ve been thankful that Rick’s hearing isn’t what it used to be. I don’t think he’s going to be overly thrilled that we have an indoor cat again, but maybe he’ll get over it when he realizes how happy it makes Victoria to once again have a cat to keep her company when she’s at home.
Another couple of milestones this past year included a second trip to New York City over spring break with the Huntsville Youth Orchestra. That was a surprise because after the first trip she said she wouldn’t go back. This time, however, they dangled going to see The Phantom of the Opera under her nose and she couldn’t resist. That plus Mrs. Newman and one of the other harpists went so she knew she’d have a good time even if she were in NYC. She also managed to fit in two trips to the beach this summer as well. One was a graduation gift from us and the other was with some of her friends from the dance studio. She comes by her love of the beach honestly because if I had my choice of places to live it would be at the beach.
As you might guess we are indeed proud of our youngest daughter. Her stubborn determination got her through the past four years of college with flying colors. She’s enjoyed teaching all her students be they dancers, gymnasts, or harpists. We’re hoping that she’ll continue to enjoy her youth unencumbered until the right young man comes along. That will be our prayer focus for the future. It would be such a shame for her to settle for anyone less than the man God has in mind for her. Please join us not only in wishing Victoria a very happy 21st birthday, but in prayer that she will wait upon the Lord to guide her as she walks into the adult world which all too often is like walking through a field full of land mines. One false step could be the end of a very bright and promising future for this talented young lady.
Love ya darlin’!